Neil Chauncey, 91

Neil Chauncey

He was born October 29, 1923 in Carter, South Dakota to parents William and Cordelia Creasey Chauncey. Neil grew up in Winner, South Dakota. He served in the United States Army 102 Infantry Division during WWII. After the war, Neil married Elizabeth Erk on November 3, 1949 at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Rapid City, South Dakota. To this union four children were born. Neil graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines with a degree in civil engineering. He was a member of the Theta Tau professional engineering fraternity. After graduation he worked for the Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs from 1949-1979.

Neil and Elizabeth retired to Denison, TX in 1979. He joined, and served as past president, of the Texoma Rockhounds. Neil served as past president of the Chapter 1290 Federal Retirees of Sherman. He also taught Lapidary classes to senior citizens at Grayson College for several years. Neil was a member of St. Patrick Catholic Church.

Dr. Amy McCullough and the Butler


NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 11: General view of atmosphere at American Humane Association Salutes Four-Legged Military Heroes During 2014 Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for American Humane Association)

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 11: General view of atmosphere at American Humane Association Salutes Four-Legged Military Heroes During 2014 Veterans Day Parade on November 11, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for American Humane Association)

If you’re a regular viewer of The Weather Channel (TWC), you may have seen segments featuring Winner native Dr. Amy McCullough (daughter of Gary and Jan Bowar) and her dog Butler, the official TWC therapy dog.

The two were brought together after McCullough’s employer, American Humane Association (AHA), and TWC partnered to launch a nationwide search to find a therapy dog that would assist with recovery in communities affected by severe weather. McCullough, who is AHA’s National Director of Humane Research and Therapy, would be the dog’s official handler.

Research shows that interacting with a therapy dog (a pet that has been specially trained and evaluated to provide comfort to people) can improve human health and well-being. In the wake of a disaster, therapy dogs can be a tremendous source of support for healing and recovery by engaging and relaxing people, providing a sense of safety, comfort and relief from grief.

Once the search for the therapy dog began, McCullough met over 100 dogs at animal shelters in four different states in a four day period. She was searching for a rescue dog at least one year old, medium-sized, and in good health. The dog needed to be calm, outgoing and affectionate.

She found those qualities in Butler, a one-year-old, 35 lb shepherd mix, at the Humane Society of Charlotte in North Carolina. “Butler stood out from the moment I met him,” said McCullough, “He had a balance of being calm and comfortable in new environments, but also had enough energy to be engaging to weather victims and TWC viewers.”

Once Butler was adopted, his therapy dog training began. McCullough enrolled him in obedience classes and began exposing him to new situations such as taking him to pet-friendly stores. To become a registered therapy dog, a dog must have solid obedience skills and be comfortable around a variety of different types of people, objects, settings, and situations.

Butler became a certified therapy dog in April 2014. Later that month, he was sent on his first deployment to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the devastating EF-4 tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma, killing 24 people and injuring 377 others.

Butler visited community members across the city of Moore to provide comfort as the stressful time of storm season began. While petting Butler, many people talked about their experience of the devastating tornado and how they felt one year later. Inspirational and heroic stories were shared, as well as those of grief and tragedy. “Hopefully, Butler’s visit helped provide relief and healing as the people of Moore continue to rebuild their lives,” said McCullough.

Since then, Butler has been on several service missions, including post-tornado sites of Vilonia, Arkansas and Pilger, Nebraska. In 2015, Butler was deployed to his first winter storm site, visiting the city of Boston during their record February snowfall.

Last winter, he also paid a visit to a 16-year-old boy who was recovering at a rehabilitation center in Atlanta after being in a sledding accident which left him paralyzed. When Butler’s not helping comfort communities after severe weather events, he travels the country giving weather preparedness presentations and serves as an ambassador for American Humane Association. In his first year on the job, he’s traveled to over 20 states, spreading smiles and sharing knowledge about the vital bond between humans and animals.
If you’d like to share in Butler’s travels, you can follow him on Facebook at Butler The Weather Channel Therapy Dog.

Soldiers Enjoy Hunt at South Fork

hunting group at south fork

By Dan Bechtold, Editor

Twenty-one soldiers landed in Winner last week as they prepared to enjoy a pheasant hunt at South Fork Hunting Lodge of Dallas.  Four jets landed at the Winner Regional Airport being soldiers from all across the United States.  The disabled soldiers were taking part in David Feherty’s IED Hunt. Feherty, a native of Ireland, is a former professional golfer turned TV personality and golf commentator.

Leroy Petry of Washington State has been attending this hunt for several years. The retire Army master sergeant received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Perty lost his arm in a grenade blast and was shot in both his thighs in Afghanistan.

In 2008 was the first time he came on this hunt. He was still an outpatient at the hospital in San Antonio, Texas. “I had been told about this trip but I did not want to leave the hospital, I wanted to just focus on my recovery. I did not have a good outlook on what life was going to hold for me after losing my arm. I could no longer do the ranger things any more,” he said.

Petry said the trip allowed him an opportunity to relax and get away from the hospital environment.  “I came here not knowing what to expect. I had a great time and have made life long friends,” he said.

Why community newspapers matter…

“I got credit down at the grocery store and my barber tells me jokes…” —Roger Miller

ROLLING FORK, Miss.—The chosen theme for this year’s National Newspaper Week is “Power of the Press,” and that power, it seems to me, is a very relative thing.
Everybody understands the power of, say, The New York Times or The Washington Post, but probably less recognized and appreciated is the power of the Deer Creek Pilot and the thousands of other small, community newspapers just like it all across the land.

In survey after survey, it is these little community-minded newspapers that are continuing to thrive. And there are some very tangible, observable reasons for that, not the least of which might be the notion I share that the smaller the community, the more important its newspaper.

For more than 20 years now, I have put out a little country weekly that’s been published continuously for 138 years in what most folks might consider Backwater, U.S.A., the two poorest counties in the poorest state in the union with a combined population of less than 6,500 men, women and children.

And it is neither flippant nor hyperbolic when I say that little country weekly newspaper is the only news organization on the planet Earth that gives the first tinker’s damn about Sharkey and Issaquena counties, Mississippi. That, folks, is what makes the Deer Creek Pilot mighty, mighty important to those people who call that place home.
While mine might serve as prime example, it is in that respect no different from all those other community newspapers in all those other towns in this country.
Community newspapers have the power to bring about great good and make a profound difference within their locales. And among the good ones, the ones who endure and even prosper, there is always to be found one common denominator—trust.

In a small town the local newspaper is not like the local hardware store. It simply isn’t.

In a small town, every newspaper subscriber thinks he or she is a stockholder, because there exists a real relationship, an implied contract, if you will, between that paper and its readers.

They buy your newspaper, advertise in your newspaper, sometimes even when they don’t have to, based on a simple precept: They trust you to do your very best to find the truth and to tell it to them.

News travels fast in a small town; bad news travels even faster, but all too often that “news” is no such thing. All too often, that “news” is little more than rumor, sometimes made up out of whole cloth and at best some grain of truth exaggerated in its retellings vastly, and often alarmingly out of proportion.

In a small town, readers expect their newspaper to separate the wheat from the chaff and then to “tell it like it is.”
And why not?

The community newspaper is not some monolithic entity; its editor is not some ivory towered “big shot.” He or she is also a neighbor. He or she is one who goes to church with you, or stops to chat in the grocery store or is always there to volunteer at community functions or stops to shake hands or just waves in passing.

More importantly, he or she is the one everybody else trusts to promote those things that are beneficial, and to try to stop that which is not. There’s a fishbowl effect in small towns, and its newspaper is hence, often its lightening rod. It may be praised one week and dog-cussed the next, but it is not only impossible, but really not important that it be liked. It’s important that it be respected and it is even more important that it be trusted.

I have been in this crazy business for some 38 years now, at both the daily and weekly levels, and been blessed to receive a few accolades along the way, but the greatest single compliment I have ever received came from a salt-of-the-earth little lady who stopped by the office to pick up a hot off the press edition featuring the issue du jour in my little town.
“I’ve heard all the talk, but I don’t believe it until I read in the paper,” she told me.

And that, in a nutshell, is the secret to the continued success of community newspapers.

That, in a nutshell, is the true Power of the Press.

Grave Sites of the Great Indian Leaders

SittingBullMonument00006 CHAD COPPESS

By Katie Hunhoff

We thought we’d broached every possible topic in 30 years of publishing South Dakota Magazine, but we found an altogether new subject for our Sept/Oct issue. Where are the burial sites of the great Indian leaders of the 19th century?

Paul Higbee, a Spearfish writer, led our effort to find the graves. He also wrote about the history and tradition of Indian burials. We discovered that the graves generally lie in Christian cemeteries because many Lakota and Dakota people converted to Christianity. But elements of traditional religion were still practiced, including a “release of the soul” rite which occurs a year after death.

Indian country cemeteries don’t always have the manicured appearance that you might see in other communities. Sometimes the grass is long, the stones are leaning and the road is rutted. The difference is partly because traditional Native American culture calls for remembering the dead through ceremony, not at a physical place.

However, many of the Lakota and Dakota leaders’ graves are within sight of the Missouri River. And there is a feeling of reverence and solemnity at every site, no matter the height of the grass.

Sitting Bull’s grave, just west of Mobridge, is perhaps the most picturesque. A bust created by Crazy Horse sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski marks the site, which is high above the Missouri River.

The graves of Struck-by-the Ree, Iron Nation and Gall are also near the Missouri. Struck-by-the-Ree is buried south of Marty on the Yankton Sioux Reservation. Gall, a contemporary of Sitting Bull who fought with him at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, is also buried west of Mobridge.

Spotted Tail was a Sicangu leader famous for his wit. He complained on one occasion about the constant relocations of his community, telling authorities, “I think you had better put the Indians on wheels and then you can run them about wherever you wish.” His gravesite is near Rosebud.

Red Cloud’s grave is near the Red Cloud School, west of Pine Ridge. A Catholic church and a cultural center also share space on the beautiful campus built by Jesuit missionaries in the 1880s. Red Cloud led a deadly campaign to burn military posts, but he eventually realized that U.S. forces were too strong to overcome. After that, he accepted the reservation life while continually fighting federal efforts to reduce tribal lands. “Red Cloud lived to age 88, dying in 1909 when the Indian wars had been romanticized in American memory,” writes Higbee. “Yet his name still sent shivers down the spines of some elderly Army veterans.”

We also traveled to Manderson, home of the Lakota holy man Nicholas Black Elk. He is buried in the Catholic cemetery, across the highway from St. Agnes Church. A deeply rutted road leads to the fenced, hilltop cemetery. Waist-high prairie grasses make it difficult to find the simple black marker. Sage, a purifying herb in Lakota culture, grows atop the grave.

Higbee notes that the story behind Crazy Horse’s burial is known, but only by a few people. After he was fatally bayonetted at Camp Robinson in Nebraska, family members took the body. “Certain people are aware of his remains, says Donovin Sprague, a descendent and author. “It’s a very guarded secret and no one would ever reveal anything.”
Check out the magazine article for more history, photos and directions to the graves. Higbee also offers tips on cemetery etiquette.

We know we missed the burial sites of some important Native American leaders. We’ll keep looking and learning. That’s the whole idea behind publishing South Dakota Magazine.

October Climate Outlook for South Dakota Looks to be Good for Harvest

BROOKINGS, S.D. – Warmer than average temperatures are expected to continue through October 2015 in South Dakota, according to the latest climate outlook released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center this week.

“We still have not seen a hard freeze in most of the state, and it looks like it could be another week or two before we see a widespread freeze,” says Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist. “This has been a great year without worries of early frost in crops and gardens and pleasant for outdoor activities.”

With the dry conditions over the last four to six weeks in the western and northern counties, Edwards added that current conditions also reduced the risk of saturated soils and moist grain during this year’s harvest season.

Dennis Todey, South Dakota State Climatologist & SDSU Extension Climate Specialist added, “Very warm September temperatures helped round out the growing season for crops and led to sufficient maturing and drying of soybeans and corn and other fall harvested crops in the field,” he said.

Preliminary data show that nearly 50 stations ranked September 2015 among the top 10 warmest on record with five locations ranking Sept. 2015 as the warmest including; Lead, Lemmon, Pollock, Timber Lake and Waubay.

Todey said these stations ranged 5 to 8 degrees above average for the month. “The rest of the state was very warm, also, though not ranking quite as high,” he said.

Throughout the month of September, Todey said precipitation was highly variable.

“Four locations in the south central to southeast regions of the state were in the top 10 wettest, with some single day totals of more than 4-inches in late September. At the same time, in southwest and northeast areas of the state, 13 locations ranked this September among the 10 driest. Many locations received less than half an inch of rain in the month,” Todey said.

October Climate Prediction Good for Harvest
Edwards said the predicted outlook looks to be continued good news for fall harvest and outdoor activities.

“Warmer than average conditions are favored statewide in the month ahead, and there is some potential for drier than average conditions in the far eastern part of the state,” Edwards said.